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SCIENCE NEWS LETTER 


N VJ In This Issue—SCIENCE REVIEW OF THE YEAR 





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See Page 391 


386 


ELECTRONICS 


Science News LETTER for December 19, 1953 


“Fly” Unbuilt Planes 


Analogue computer, now checking airplane designs, 
could have, if it had existed then, told first pilot to break 
sound barrier that his plane would not disintegrate. 


> NOW AN electronic “brain” can “fly” 
unbuilt airplanes. The brain will tell engi- 
neers in advance whether the aeronautical 
design of a new plane is sound. If faulty, 
the design can be re-worked and checked by 
the brain until the best design has been 
obtained. 

The analogue computer’s component 
parts, existing as separate entities in 1946, 
helped Boeing get the B-52 Stratofortress 
and the B-47 Stratojet into the sky for the 
Air Force. 

Without the computer, some of the Air 
Force’s new missiles would still be in de- 
sign stages today, said Edward R. Baugh, 
manager of Boeing’s electronic devices. 

The electronic device, if it had existed 
then, could have predicted in advance that 
the experimental Bell XS-1 was not going 
to disintegrate when Maj. Charles E. Yeager, 
then an Air Force captain, rammed the tiny 
plane through the sonic barrier on his 
history-making flight Oct. 17, 1947. 

This prediction might have comforted 
Maj. Yeager somewhat. He knew an Eng- 
lish plane had disintegrated in an apparent 
attempt to crack the sonic barrier. The 
pilot was killed. 

The electronic analogue computer was 
displayed at the Eastern Joint Computer 
Conference in Washington sponsored by the 
American Institute of Electrical Engineers, 
the Institute of Radio Engineers and the 
Association for Computing Machinery. 

Models of an airborne digital computer 


FORESTRY 


have been flight tested in a C-47 aircraft. 
W. B. Hebenstreit, an official of Hughes 
Research and Development Laboratories, 
said the pint-sized computers have been 
used to control the airplane automatically 
through an autopilot. The flight was 
smooth and accurate. 

The digital computer was linked to the 
autopilot through a coupler. The coupler 
took the output from the computer and 
supplied heading-angle corrections to the 
autopilot. Flight tests included automatic 
dead-reckoning and programmed flight over 
a selected course. 

Although it occupies only two cubic feet 
of space, as compared to models that often 
fill a substantial part of a large room, the 
little computer works rapidly. Its comput- 
ing speed and capacity are about half that 
of its big brothers. 

The Burroughs Corporation revealed two 
new devices: a high-speed smudge-free 
printer and a “word punch” that prepares 
tape for digital computers. 

The printer is the “answer end” of a 
laboratory computer. Tiny hot pins jab out 
of a holder to melt a carbon coating to the 
answer tape. The pins form any of 16 
characters, spieling them off at 30 charac- 
ters a second. 

The word punch is a desk-size device 
with which an office girl can prepare a tape 
for digital computers. It is believed that 
the new device will cut errors 60%. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


Christmas Tree Farms 


> THE BEST part of Christmas for many 
farmers is the profit they make growing 
Christmas trees on their poorest land. The 
estimated total retail value of the Christmas 
tree industry this year is $50,000,000. 

The United States uses about 30,000,000 
trees each Christmas, nearly a third of 
them imported from Canada. Of the trees 
cut in this country, small farms yield 44%. 

Most of the trees, a little over 90%, come 
from natural timber cuttings. The remain- 
der are grown on “Christmas tree farms,” 
a profitable sideline farmers all over the 
country are discovering. 

Poor land is best for this kind of tree 
farming, since it slows tree growth to yield 
a denser, more attractive tree. A tree that 
grows slowly has its branches close to- 
gether, giving it a compact appearance. 

By the middle of last month, most 
Christmas trees had been cut, sorted and 


graded and started for the markets. To 
keep the tree in good condition longer, 
cutting is timed to come after the first 
frost. Cutting age is usually 10 to 25 years. 

The most popular trees for Christmas 
use are balsam fir and Douglas fir, which 
together account for 57% of all the trees. 
Other popular varieties are black spruce, 
eastern red cedar and white spruce. Balsam 
fir is grown in the Midwest and East and 
Douglas fir in the West. 

Spruce and fir trees have short, upright 
needles on their branches and twigs. Each 
needle is attached to the twig individually, 
unlike pine trees which have several needles 
joined together. 

Christmas tree plantations have been 
spreading over the nation for 30 years. 
Foresters estimate that farmers can grow, at 
a total cost of 25 to 28 cents, a tree that will 
sell for 50 cents. This profit, coupled with 


the use of poor land, makes the trees an 
attractive sideline. 

In order to give their trees the cone-shape 
preferred by most buyers, plantation owners 
shape their trees each year with pruning 
shears. This pruning also serves to make 
the trees more compact. 

Foresters recommend that Christmas 
trees be kept in water in a cool place and 
sprinkled with water frequently before they 
are put up for decoration. 

When the needles of a tree start falling, 
it is time to throw it away. This indicates 
the tree has dried out and become a serious 
fire hazard. 


Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


VIROLOGY 
Diamond-Shaped Crystal 
In Germs Discovered 


> DISCOVERY OF diamond-shaped crys- 
tals in the spores of a bacillus that makes 
certain insects sick is giving scientists a 
new mystery. 
Whether these crystals contain a virus or 
a phage, or whether their formation is a 
genetic characteristic related to formation 
of an insect poison are problems now await- 
ing solution, Dr. C. L. Hannay of Science 
Service Laboratory, London, Ont., Canada, 
points out in Nature (Nov. 28). 
Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


MEDICINE 
Inhale Vitamin Instead 
Of Getting “Shots” 


> PERNICIOUS ANEMIA patients can 
now take their vitamin B-12 by inhaling it, 
like steam or nose drops, instead of getting 
“shots” of the vitamin into their muscles. 

This new method for giving vitamin 
treatment was announced by Dr. Raymond 
W. Monto of the Henry Ford Hospital, 
Detroit, at a regional meeting of the Ameri- 
can College of Physicians held at the Uni- 
versity of Michigan. 

Vitamin B-12 effectively controls perni- 
cious anemia, but frequently these patients 
have a stomach defect which prevents them 
from absorbing the vitamin if they take it 
in tablets like pills. Therefore it has be- 
come routine to inject the vitamin hypo- 
dermically into the muscles. 

“Injection of vitamin B-12 requires a phy- 
sician, and since the therapy [treatment], 
in order to be effective, must be continuous, 
the routine is often tiresome and expensive 
for the patient,” Dr. Monto reported. 

The need was for an “effective, econom- 
ical and safe mode of treatment for per- 
nicious anemia,” the doctor said. 

The method has been developed. It is the 
simple inhalation of vitamin B-12 in crystal- 
line form through the nose, much like 
steam or nose drops. The sufferer of per- 
nicious anemia may now side-step the needle 
and inhale the vitamin after prescription. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


CYTOLOGY 


Science News Letter for December 19, 1953 


Way Life Is Handed On 


Scientists have new key to duplication of life patterns 
within cells in proposed chemical structure for DNA, desoxy- 
ribonucleic acid. Suggestion has implications for cancer. 


> ONE OF the fundamental problems of 
living matter is the way life is handed on, 
that is, how the molecules that carry on 
heredity are duplicated within the cells. It 
seems to be near solution through a new 
chemical structure proposed for the sub- 
stance that is most essential in the dividing 
cells involved in life of all varieties. 

This sort of “chemical essence of life” is 
DNA, the full name of which is desoxyri- 
bonucleic acid. Its importance within liv- 
ing cells is today undisputed. The stature 
of this chemical has grown in the past year 
or two. 

A suggested structure for this chemical, 
telling how the molecules that compose it 
are put together, is creating about as much 
interest and hopeful speculation in chem- 
istry and biology as anything that has hap- 
pened in many months. 

For the mystery being solved is not alone 
how the stream of life of human beings, 
animals, plants and all other living things is 
carried on. It involves the multiplication 
of all cells and units of living matter. It 
is therefore basic to disease, such as cancer, 
which is unruly multiplication of cells. It 
may tell how unconquered viruses, recently 
photographed with the electron microscope, 
proliferate, which should be a step toward 
keeping them in hand. 

DNA’s architects are two scientists work- 
ing in the famous Cavendish Laboratory at 
Cambridge University, England, where so 
many important discoveries have been made 
over the decades. One of them is Dr. J. 
D. Watson, who has been working on a fel- 
lowship from the National Foundation for 
Infantile Paralysis supported by the March 
of Dimes in the United States. The other 
is Dr. F. H. C. Crick, who has collaborated 
on the mathematical theory that protein 
molecules are wound into the shape of a 
helix or coiled spring. 

These two scientists are a part of Britain’s 
Medical Council unit “for the study of the 
molecular structure of biological systems. 

They have succeeded in working out a 
manner of construction of DNA that sug- 
gests how it can accomplish an exact dupli- 
cation of itself. 

This is something new. It may solve a 
major puzzle. DNA is found in all divid- 
ing cells, largely if not entirely in the 
nucleus. It is an essential constituent of 
the chromosomes, the parts of the cell in 
which the stuff of heredity is located. Many 
lines of evidence indicate that DNA is the 
carrier of a part, if not all, of the genetic 
specificity of the chromosomes. Thus it is 
the chemical of the genes, the actual trans- 


mitting agent of all characteristics of the 
parents to their offspring. It is one of the 
world’s most important substances. 

Incidentally, DNA is desoxyribonucleic 
acid in the United States, while the British 
drop the “s” and write it deoxyribonucleic 
acid. 

Far too minute ever to be seen with the 
most powerful microscopes, X-ray crystal 
studies give evidence to support the theo- 
retical and mathematical ideas suggested. 

The DNA molecule is a long chain. Its 
backbone consists of a regular alternation of 
sugar and phosphate groups. To each sugar 
is attached irregularly a nitrogenous base, 
which can be of four different types, two 
of which are purines, called adenine and 
guanine, and the others are pyrimidines, 
called thymine and cytosine. The unit con- 
sisting of phosphate, sugar and base is called 
a nucleotide. 

The structure has two chains both coiled 
around a common axis of the fiber. These 
two chains are held together by hydrogen 
bonds between the bases, and the bases are 
joined together in pairs. One member of 
the pair must be a purine and the other a 
pyrimidine in order to bridge the two 
chains. 

Any sequence of pairs of the bases can 
fit into the structure and, in a long molecule, 
many different permutations are possible. 
The Cavendish Laboratory scientists sug- 
gest that the precise sequence of the bases 
is the code which carriers the genetical 
information. 

One of the chains is the complement of 
the other. This feature suggests how the 
DNA molecule might duplicate itself. 

In the process of duplication, it is visual- 
ized that the two chains unwind and sepa- 
rate. Each chain then acts as the model or 
template for the formation on itself of a 
new companion chain. There are two pairs 
of chains where there was only one pair 


before. There has been exact duplication, 
carrying the qualities of the original 
structure. 


Enthusiastically, the scientists speculate 
on just how much these supposed happen- 
ings can explain. The unusual changes in 
heredity—are they due to one of the bases 
occasionally occurring in a less likely form? 
What makes the pair of chains unwind and 
separate? What is the chemical origin of 
the stuff of the crystal? 

This discussion is part of the great and 
inspiring push toward understanding the 
complexities of the materials of life. Dr. 
Linus Pauling and Dr. Robert B. Corey of 
the California Institute of Technology are 


387 


solving the related problems of the structure 
of individual kinds of protein materials. 
The researches and the ideas of one group 
aid those of another. 

Almost every issue of leading scientific 
journals adds new facts and theories. The 
most important chemicals of life are being 
better understood and man reaches for the 
very mystery of life. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


TECHNOLOGY 
Ash from Volcano Makes 
Cement for Constructions 


> WHEN A New Guinea volcano erupted 
violently in 1951, it produced ash that can 
be used in making cement useful for con- 
struction purposes. 

Two specialists of the Australian govern- 
ment’s scientific and research organization, 
K. M. Alexander and H. E. Vivian, report 
in Nature (Nov. 28) results of tests that 
show volcanic ashes from Mt. Lamington’s 
recent explosion, when combined with lime, 
can be used in mass concrete work. 

The ash is what is called pozzolanic ma- 
terial. Tests on the ash blended with port- 
land cement are also being made. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


MEDICINE 
New Miners’ Disease 
Hits Lungs and Joints 


> DISCOVERY THAT a combination of 
rheumatism and a new lung condition, 
making up what may be a new kind of 
disease, hits coal miners is announced by 
Medical Research Council scientists in the 
British Medical Journal (Dec. 5). 

The lung condition, which the scientists 
term “rheumatoid lung lesion,” shows quite 
a different X-ray picture in some respects 
from that of progressive massive fibrosis 
in the pneumoconiosis which doctors are 
accustomed to seeing in coal miners. 

It can develop several years before, at the 
same time as, or several years after the 
arthritis starts. 

The arthritis affects more than half the 
patients with the peculiar lung condition, 
whereas arthritis is found in only three out 
of every 100 miners with the more usual 
lung disease, progressive massive fibrosis. 
No cases of arthritis were found in miners 
without any lung disease or in those with 
only simple pneumoconiosis. 

Best explanation for the new combination 
of diseases, the scientists think, is that there 
may be a particular type of tissue reaction 
to dust and tuberculosis in the lungs of 
miners who are predisposed to rheumatoid 
arthritis. 

The scientists who made the study in the 
Rhondda Fach, a South Wales mining val- 
ley, are Drs. W. E. Miall, Anthony Caplan, 
A. L. Cochrane and G. S. Kilpatrick, and 
P. D. Oldham of Cardliff, Wales, and 


London. 
Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


388 


GENERAL SCIENCE 


Science News Lerrer for December 19, 1953 


Private Research Best 


Annual report of Carnegie Institution of Washington 
notes progress in astronomy, formation of earth’s rocks in 


the laboratory, photosynthesis 


> THE GREAT need for fundamental 
scientific research can best be met by pri- 
vately endowed research institutions, Dr. 
Vannevar Bush, president of the Carnegie 
Institution of Washington, said in his an- 
nual report to the Institution’s trustees. 

Recent trends in research projects 
financed by the government and founda- 
tions at universities have led some to the 
mistaken conclusion that research institu- 
tions are “obsolescent,’ Dr. Bush com- 
mented. 

In the field of fundamental research, “the 
research institution is paramount,” he de- 
clared. 

Dr. Bush pointed out that research insti- 
tutions were not necessarily isolated and 
could take advantage of the ideas of young 
scientists. Isolation and scientific fixity can 
be successfully avoided by the research in- 
stitution, he said. 

During the war the federal government 
entered the field of scientific research by 
supporting research projects. This lead has 
been partly followed by the foundations. 
Project research, however, is “far better 
adapted to applied research than to funda- 
mental research,’ Dr. Bush said. 

“The foundations here have to some ex- 
tent missed an opportunity,” he continued. 
“As the government entered strongly into 
scientific research, they moved out. If they 
had moved into basic research, they might 
have preserved a balance.” 

The research institution gathers scientists 
of genius who can work with other scien- 
tists in “a broad program for progress,” Dr. 
Bush said. This kind of “team” research, 
free from the distractions of the university, 
is best done by private research institutions, 
he declared. 

Dr. Bush summarized the research ac- 
complishments of the Institution in the past 
year. He called attention to studies on the 
magnetic field of the sun, the formation of 
granite rocks, the chemical aspects of grow- 
ing bacteria, photosynthesis and human 
embryology. 


Earliest Human Embryos 


Discovery of the earliest human twin 
embryos scientists have so far seen was re- 
ported by Dr. George W. Corner, director 
of the Institution’s department of embry- 
ology located at Baltimore. 

These earliest beginnings of human twins 
are 17 days old, counting from the time 
of conception. They have been identified 
by Dr. Chester H. Heuser as identical twins. 

They are particularly valuable, Dr. 
Corner points out, because they give in- 


and human embryology. 


disputable proof that single egg twins, or 
identical twins, can develop in one of the 
ways that scientists have believed possible 
on the evidence of later stages of twin 
development. 

This is by formation inside a single 
blastocyst of two embryonic areas, each of 
which becomes a separate embryo. The 
blastocyst is the stage of the embryo which 
follows cleavage, when the cells are ar- 
ranged in a single layer to form a hollow 
sphere. 


Algae-Enriched Foods 


Algae rich in protein can be added to 
soups, breads, jelly rolls, noodles and ice 
cream in significant amounts and the foods 
still are pleasant to eat. 

Chlorella, the one-celled plant, is being 
widely investigated as a new food source, 
but little of it has actually been eaten. The 
Institution reports taste tests of a Japan- 
produced Chlorella ellipsoidea to some foods 
at its Stanford, Calif., department of plant 
biology. 

“Highly palatable” was the verdict of the 
testers who had Japanese, American and 
European backgrounds. Prof. and Mrs. 
Hiroshi Tamiya, who made the tests, found 
the foods were improved in taste and the 
enriched breads and ice cream were par- 
ticularly good. 

Direct addition of Chlorella to food seems 
feasible, the investigators concluded. 


Jupiter’s Atmosphere 


Jupiter’s atmosphere is made up largely 
of hydrogen and helium, not methane and 
ammonia as was previously thought. 

Dr. William A. Baum of the Mount Wil- 
son and Palomar Observatories and Dr. 
A. D. Code of the Washburn Observatory, 
Madison, Wis., have obtained the first di- 
rect observational evidence concerning what 
gases compose Jupiter’s atmosphere. These 
are hydrogen and helium, they found from 
light curves of the gases composing the 
outer layers of Jupiter’s atmosphere. The 
heavier gases, such as nitrogen and oxygen, 
that make up the earth’s atmosphere are 
therefore believed to be almost absent on 
Jupiter. 

Drs. Baum and Code made their obser- 
vations when Jupiter eclipsed a bright star, 
Sigma Arietis, noting the rate at which 
light from the star was dimmed, then fi- 
nally extinguished by the planet. To catch 
the star’s disappearance with the 60-inch 


telescope, they used a photomultiplier, a 
sensitive instrument that steps up the star’s 
faint light to record it electrically. 

Drs. Edison Pettit and Robert S. Richard- 
son, also of the Mount Wilson and Palomar 
Observatories, took motion pictures of ‘the 
star’s eclipse at the time time. They found 
“remarkable variations” in the brightness 
of the star about 50 seconds before it finally 
disappeared. These were due, they believe, 
to turbulence in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Such 
marked fluctuations were also found with 
the photomultiplier. 

The dimming and gradual disappearance 
were caused by the spreading of the star’s 


SCIENCE NEWS LETTER 


VOL. 64 DECEMBER 19, 1953 NO. 25 


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light as it was refracted by gases in Jupiter’s 
outer atmosphere. A dense atmosphere 
would have caused the starlight to dim 
rather rapidly, but the actual observations 
showed that it faded out quite gradually. 

The figure of 3.3 for the mean molecular 
weight of Jupiter’s atmosphere agrees sub- 
stantially with an estimate based on a study 
of Uranus and Neptune that showed that 
helium is about three times more abundant 
than hydrogen on those planets. If Jupiter 
had the same ratio, its mean molecular 
weight would be an estimated 3.5. 

The findings of the two astronomers, at 
the present time, can be no more specific 
than that helium and hydrogen account for 
most of Jupiter’s atmosphere. They do not 
indicate how much of each gas is present 
or what other elements may exist there. 


Bacterial Cell Adapts 


Flexibility in the way a bacterial cell can 
adapt its life cycle to changing conditions 
is the secret of its survival. This conclusion 
is reported from researches carried out at 
the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s 
department of terrestrial magnetism. 

Usually the bacterium E. coli builds up 
amino acids according to the cycle discov- 
ered by Dr. Hans Adolf Krebs, Nobelist in 
medicine of this year. But under certain 
circumstances the organism alters the chem- 
istry of this reaction. Instead of building 
up amino acids, the bacterium changes the 
Krebs cycle to a mechanism of oxidation. 
These changes have been followed by feed- 
ing the bacterial colony substances contain- 
ing radioactive carbon. 


Ancient Maya Religion 


Excavation at Mayapan, ancient city of 
the Maya Indians in Mexico, indicates the 
possibility that Maya civilization was turn- 
ing from public religion to a more private 
worship before the Spanish Conquest, Dr. 
H. E. D. Pollock, director of the Institu- 
tion’s department of archaeology, reports. 

Evidence of the religious change includes 
fragments of human-effigy incense burners, 
apparently household idols, found in the 
shrine room of an excavated dwelling. 
There is also evidence that dwellings were 
encroaching on ceremonial areas during the 
last period of the city, upon which excava- 
tion began this year. 

A study of grave sites in the area, how- 
ever, shows that human sacrifice was still 
practiced in the late period of the city. 
Spanish observers writing at the time of 
the conquest also support the theory that 
Maya religious practices were changing 
during the last period of the civilization. 

Dr. Pollock said that the work at the site 
has not advanced enough yet to determine 
the growth and development of the city 
plan. All the buildings studied so far seem 
to belong to the same cultural period. 

The Institution will make a thorough in- 
vestigation of one or more examples of 


Science News LETTER for December 19, 1953 


each important type of building found in 
the city. The scientists hope to be able to 
describe the domestic economy and way of 
life of the Maya people following the com- 
pletion of the archaeological work. 


Saving New Babies 


Findings made with X-ray motion pic- 
tures before and after birth are giving doc- 
tors new knowledge for saving babies 
threatened by death immediately after birth. 

The findings were made by Dr. S. R. M. 
Reynolds of the Carnegie Institution of 
Washington’s department of embryology, 
Baltimore, and, at Dr. Reynolds’ instiga- 
tion, by Drs. G. M. Ardran, G. S. Dawes, 
M. M. L. Prichard and D. G. Wyatt of 
Oxford University and the Nuffield Insti- 
tute of Medical Research in England. 

The X-ray movies showed, contrary to 
expectation, that before breathing begins 
there is virtually no circulation of blood 
through the lungs of the unborn infant. 
The movies were made of unborn lambs, 
but the findings apparently hold true for 
unborn human babies also. 

For the first time, in the Carnegie and 
Oxford research, blood pressure was meas- 
ured in two major arteries, the pulmonary 
trunk and aorta, in the unborn infant, and 
at each end of the ductus arteriosus. This 
ductus is the channel from the lung artery 
to the aorta, main artery from the heart. 
It normally closes at birth and when it fails 
to do so, the “blue baby” condition results. 

Before birth, blood flows through this 
channel under considerable pressure, the 
scientists discovered. When the infant be- 
gins to breathe, the blood is immediately 
diverted from the channel into the lung 
arteries. As the lungs expand, the volume 
rate of flow through them increases almost 
five-fold. 

At this time, the pressure in the main 
artery to the lungs drops to a low point. 
During the first few minutes after this 
change, the general blood pressure also falls, 
apparently because of the transfer to the 
lungs of a significant portion of the total 
blood of the infant. 

This short, temporary general fall of 
blood pressure at the start of breathing in 
the new baby has not previously been 
known. If overly large, it may be danger- 
ous. Discovery of this whole situation in 
the baby’s circulation has already helped 
doctors save newborn babies. 

The changes of pressure and blood flow, 
it was also found, have a bearing on the 
closing of the ductus arteriosus and, there- 
fore, on prevention or development of the 
“blue baby” condition. Blood is diverted 
into the lungs because of lowered resistance 
to blood flow in them. This diversion of 
blood and the accompanying fall in blood 
pressure in the ductus apparently allow the 
channel to constrict and shorten through 
action of the elastic fibers and smooth 
muscle cells in its walls. Thus it is obliter- 
ated and the “blue baby” condition avoided. 


389 


Make Earth’s Rocks 


Progress in learning how the rocks of 
the earth were formed has continued in the 
geophysical laboratory, the annual report 
revealed. Many minerals have been dupli- 
cated in high-pressure furnaces, proving the 
conditions under which they must have 
formed in the earth, 

Granite, which contains five of the six 
most common kinds of minerals in the 
earth’s crust, has been proved to have cooled 
from a magma of melted rock-making ma- 
terial. Studies on many types of such mate- 
rial show that granite is the first product 
to form from such a magma. It will 
crystallize out of an alkaline liquid con- 
taining a high percentage of soda and 
potash. 

Water can be injected into the experi- 
mental furnace in which these synthetic 
minerals are made, by an improvement 
which the scientists have added. With this 
equipment, it has been found that water 
in the form of a gas can, under the pres- 
sures found far down in the earth’s crust, 
dissolve up to 33% silica, the main rock- 
forming element. 

Such studies are deciding the old question 
of how the rocks were formed in favor 
of cooling conditions from hot, volcanic- 
like melts, instead of a reworking of older 


sediments. 
Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


MEDICINE 
Anti-Germ Mechanism 
In Mid-Digestive Tract 


> EXISTENCE OF an antibacterial mech- 
anism in the middle part of man’s digestive 
tract, or small intestine, is reported by Miss 
Judith Cregan and Drs. E. S. Dunlop and 
Nancy J. Hayward of the University of 
Melbourne, Australia, and the Royal Mel- 
bourne Hospital in the British Medical 
Journal (Dec. 5). 

This anti-germ, or antibacteria, mechan- 
ism is independent of the germicidal barrier 
of the stomach, they found from studies on 
22 patients undergoing stomach operations. 

Failure of scientists in the past to recog- 
nize that there are two such independent 
mechanisms, and that the stomach mechan- 
ism may be defective but the small intestine 
one intact, has led to much misconception, 
the Australian scientists point out. 

For example, it has been suggested that 
vitamin B deficiencies arise in patients who 
have had their stomachs removed, and in 
those with sprue, pernicious anemia and 
pellagra, because bacteria that get by the 
missing or defective stomach barrier in such 
patients invade the small intestine and de- 
prive the patient of vitamins. 

This theory, the Australians point out, 
has no sound foundation unless or until it 
can be shown that the small intestine germ 
barrier is also defective in such patients. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


390 


GENERAL SCIENCE 


Science News LETTER for December 19, 1953 


Top 1953 Science Stories 


> THE TOP important advances in science 
and technology during 1953 as picked by 
Watson Davis, director of SctENcE SERVICE, 
are: 

1. Suggested formula for essential chem- 
ical (DNA) in living cell that allows du- 
plication of hereditary characteristics, a 
major chemical and biological mystery. 

2. Development of a vaccine against all 
three types of polio and plans for mass use 
in 1954, 

3. Isolation and identification of polio 
virus, shown by electron microscope to be a 
sphere-shaped particle a millionth of an 
inch in diameter. 

4. First synthesis of a pituitary gland hor- 
mone, oxytocin. 

5. Successful climbing of Mt. Everest. 

6. Discovery of bones of most ancient true 


CONSERVATION 


man in South Africa and finding that Pilt- 
down Man jaw was a hoax. 

7. Successful tape recording of television 
programs in color as well as black and 
white. ‘ 

8. Model testing of a new airplane wing 
resembling Venetian blinds that allows 
transport planes to take off vertically. 

9. Numerical weather prediction by means 
of high-speed electronic computers, with 
the first prediction of development of an 
extra-tropical cyclonic storm. 

10. Evidence of the greater extent and 
complexity of the astronomical universe, 
as shown both by a doubling of astronomical 
radio wave sources and by the realization 
that the visible universe is twice as big, 
linearly, and twice as old as supposed. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


Biologist Saves Valley 


> THE ACHIEVEMENT of a Venezuelan 
biologist who used his scientific knowledge 
and persuasive diplomacy to save a valley 
has won the acclaim of soil conservationists 
throughout the hemisphere. 

Prof. Francisco Tamayo was asked by the 
Venezuelan government in 1946 to attempt 
the reclamation of the Valley of Tacagua, 
a barren waste of rock and sand at that 
time. The transformation of the valley has 
been so complete that visitors who have not 
seen it since 1946 can hardly believe it. 

In the United States, Dr. Hugh Bennett, 
one of the founders of soil conservation, 
commented that Prof. Tamayo ‘“accom- 
plished the impossible” in reclaiming the 
valley. Recently Prof. Tamayo was awarded 
a $2,000 prize by the Pan American Union. 

The mountains surrounding the valley 
were once lush with vegetation, but goats 
raised by farmers killed off the soil-holding 
growth and erosion quickly ruined the 
valley. 

When Prof. Tamayo started his work in 
1947, he was faced with a scientific and 
diplomatic problem. First he had to per- 
suade the farmers to sell or pen their goats, 
and then he had to start a planting program 
which would restore the growth. 

A part of the human population of the 
valley was resettled, selected native crops 
were introduced so that the remaining 
farmers would have a source of income, and 
in five years approximately 30,000 sheep and 
goats left the valley. 

Soil erosion as a result of the feeding 
habits of goats and sheep is a problem 
wherever there are mountains in Latin 
America. The poor people keep the goats 
for milk and believe that the more goats a 
person has the better off he is. The result 
is often a devastation of natural land re- 
sources. 


Prof. Tamayo’s scientific re-planting has 
brought results that astound conservation- 
ists. He first made a study of native vege- 
tation, then planting and re-forestation was 
started. His experiment was so successful 


that the Venezuelan government has begun - 


similar work in other parts of the country. 
Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 














































































































































































































® RADIO 


Saturday, Dec. 26, 1953, 3:15-3:30 p.m., EST 


“Adventures in Science” with Watson Davis, 
director of Science Service, over the CBS Radio 
Network. Check your local CBS station. 

Watson Davis will list the outstanding science 
events of the year and discuss the highlights of 
technological and scientific progress. 


TECHNOLOGY 
Rudderless Tugboat 
Puts on Good Show 


> A RUDDERLESS Army tugboat, despite 
its apparent physical handicap, can get 
where it is going. 

“Sinusoidal vertical-axis propellers” re- 
place usual screw-type propellers on the 150- 
foot Transportation Corps craft. No rudder 
is needed with this type of propeller since 
it can generate thrust in any direction. 

The propellers consist of large horizontal 
rotating disks upon which plate-like paddles 
are fixed. The pitch of the paddles is con- 
trolled by steering wheels to produce thrust 
in the desired direction. The paddles, or 
blades, fit into two 11-foot diameter rotors 
that revolve as the blades oscillate. Blades 
in this type of propeller can be changed 
without drydocking the boat. 

The tug has a beam of 32 feet and a 
normal draft of seven feet. It operates non- 
stop for 1,200 miles—going upstream for 
600 miles against a five-mile-an-hour cur- 
rent, then returning 600 miles downstream. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 























Fron 





















































VERTICAL AXIS PROPELLERS—"Business ends” of the vertical axis pro- 
pellers on the rudderless tugboat are these blades, each four and a half feet 
long, that project downward from the stern. 


GENERAL SCIENCE 


Science News LETTER for December 19, 1953 


1953 Science Review 


New knowledge of living chemicals is probable as 


history’s remembrance for 1953. 


Polio virus isolated and 


identified, and vaccine ready for mass trial. 


This summary of the year’s happenings in 
the world of science is limited by space to 
just the highlights. Most of the events are 
described in detail in the pages of ScIENCE 
News LETTER for the current year. If you 
wish to refer to any particular report, you 
may find it readily through the inder. (See 
SNL, June 27, and also the issue which will 
appear next week, Dec. 26.) 


See Front Cover 


By SCIENCE SERVICE STAFF 


> TO HISTORY the most important hap- 
penings in 1953 may be rather tentative 
suggestions as to how life is carried on. 

The Russian H-bomb, the end of the 
Korean war, actions of a new administra- 
tion in Washington, and a dozen other 
events made headlines. But quiet work of 
scientists on the innermost structure of liv- 
ing material could very well rank with the 
great scientific discoveries of all time. 

The structure and operation of living 
matter, particularly the protein and the 
other complex chemicals in the living cell, 
have been great biological and chemical 
mysteries. 

Protein has a rope-like twisted molecular 
structure which Dr. Linus Pauling of the 
California Institute of Technology has 
puzzled out mathematically. X-ray diffrac- 
tion studies have shown such patterns. For 
desoxyribonucleic acid, important especially 
in reproducing cells, two Cambridge Uni- 
versity scientists, Drs. J. D. Watson and F. 
H. C. Crick, suggested a helical form that 
provides a mechanism for such molecules 
to reproduce themselves, essential to the 
workings of heredity. 

From such fundamental research may 
come disease conquests of the future, since 
the largely unconquered viruses must re- 
produce similarly to larger organisms, de- 
spite their small size. Knowing what they 
do is a first step toward stopping them. 

During 1953, the polio virus was isolated, 
identified and shown to be a minute sphere- 
shaped particle. And the work on a vaccine 
for polio came to sufficient fruition to allow 
planning of protection during 1954 of about 
a million school children with an immuniza- 
tion against polio’s three types. 

Oxytocin from the pituitary gland was 
synthesized, first of the hormones from this 
gland to be synthesized. This gland’s growth 
hormone was linked to both arthritis and 
tooth growth, among the many findings 
about hormones. 

A furor of discussion followed the pub- 
lication of the Kinsey report on sexual be- 
havior in the human female. 

A Soviet explosion of thermonuclear or 


fusion type indicated that Russia has or can 
have H-bombs of superpower comparable to 
our own. This quickened atomic energy 
defense activity. There was also political dis- 
cussion on atomic power and work pro- 
gressed on actual power plants for sub- 
marines and potential commercial use. 

The 50th anniversary of aviation, dating 
from the Wright Brothers’ first flight, was 
celebrated. Research began upon a new 
type of plane that takes off vertically through 
use of Venetian-blind type wing. A sort 
of flying landing field for fighter planes 
was made practical through use of a long- 
range bomber that launches, and then re- 
covers in flight, the little fighter. The first 
plane that cracks the supersonic barrier in 
level flight as standard operating procedure, 
the F-100 Super Sabre, went into produc- 
tion. Planes of the future will carry a 
crash locator that consists of a radio beacon 
that goes into automatic action when dis- 
aster comes, marking the spot for rescue. 

Television of the future, both color and 
black-and-white, will be recorded on mag- 
netic tape in a manner similar to the tape 
recording of so many radio programs. This 
development of the year will make TV 
cost less in time and money than film now 
used. 

Mechanized production of electronic de- 
vices for war and peace, through standard- 
ized unit parts made with printed circuits 
assembled by machine, was forecast for wide 
use by the Bureau of Standard? “Tinker- 
toy? project unwrapped during 1953. It 
will be used on radars, electronic bomb- 
sights and other defense equipment, and 
then on radio, TV and other commercial 
electronic devices. 

Development of automatic machines, in- 
cluding the so-called electronic “brains,” 
or computers, continued with promising 
changes foreseen for many fields. Progress 
was made toward application of the com- 
puters to practical weather forecasting. De- 
velopment of transistors continued. 

The idea that human origin occurred in 
Africa was strengthened by more studies 
and more anthropological finds. The ex- 
posure of Piltdown Man jaw as a fraud 
fashioned from an ape explained some dis- 
crepancies in the course of human ancestry. 

With regard to present-day human beings, 
there was increased understanding of how 
we see, since the chemical progress involved 
in night vision was duplicated in the labora- 
tory. In the difficult task of measuring and 
evaluating human temperament with ob- 
jectivity, new and promising tests were 
developed. 


391 


The climbing of Mt. Everest left a few 
still unscaled mountains on the earth’s sur- 
face. Beyond our sphere, there was further 
evidence for doubling our astronomical 
yardstick, making the universe both twice 
as large and twice as old as believed two 
years ago. 

Realization that more knowledge of outer 
space is practical for radio and climatic 
studies, as well as for intellectual and philo- 
sophical value, spurred plans for new ob- 
servatories, including a new joint one in the 
United States. 

In a new political climate in Washington, 
governmental research, particularly at the 
National Bureau of Standards, was hamp- 
ered by the “Astin affair” sparked by the 
battery additive controversy, despite the 
sustaining of the Bureau of Standards by 
two exhaustive reports. Other government 
research activities, such as soil conservation, 
fish and wild life protection, reclamation 
and weather suffered actual, or threatened 
curtailments. The National Science Founda- 
tion, however, received somewhat more fi- 
nancial support and continued to expand its 
program in support of research. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


AERONAUTICS 
New Plane Promises 
Vertical Take-Offs 


Work progressed on an automatic radio trans- 
mitter beacon that goes into action when a plane 
crashes; combined with automatic ground-based 
direction-finding stations, the beacon will serve 
to pinpoint the scene of future airplane crashes, 
permitting rescues in record time. 

A plastic-treated material of glass fibers was 
found to be successful for airplane construction, 
saving on construction cost, permitting faster 
flight and making airplanes “invisible” to radar. 

Tests were successful on models of a new 
type of airplane wing, resembling Venetian 
blinds, which will enable a fast transport plane 
to make a vertical take-off from a small airport. 

A giant long-range bomber was adapted to 
make it possible for a full-size combat jet plane 
to act as a parasite plane on it, landing on, as 
well as taking off from, the mother plane. 

A rotary bomb bay door solved the problem 
of dropping bombs from very fast planes flying 
through flak-filled skies. 

The Sea Dart, the Navy’s revolutionary delta- 
winged jet fighter that can land and take off in 
water, entered final experimental tests at the 
year’s end. 

A prototype of the F-100 Super Sabre, now 
in production for the Air Force, attained super- 
sonic speed in performance; it set a new official 
record of 754.98 miles an hour. 

A new altitude record was set at 83,235 feet 
in an experimental plane. 

The experimental Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket 
set a new unofficial speed record of 1,327 miles 
an hour by flying twice the speed of sound 
(Mach 2). 

Air Force got what is believed to be the 
world’s largest helicopter, carrying 40 passengers 
and three crewmen. It is shown on the cover 
of this week’s ScteNcE News LETTER. 

A swept-winged guided missile, capable of 
striking at supersonic speeds from submarines, 
surface ships and shore bases, was developed. 

Tests showed that lack of gravity will not 
harm the body or mind of the space traveler. 


392 


Gadgets were developed for guided missiles 
to correct automatically for navigation errors due 
to faulty construction, winds, changes in air 
density and other factors that might throw the 
missile off course. 

Two Navy guns were paired into a team auto- 
matically loaded, controlled electronically by the 
ship’s radar and fire control system, and capable 
of spitting heavy flak at guided missiles. 

In-flight refueling became a practical reality. 

A new synthetic lubricant for jet engines was 
developed to enable designers to create fighter 
planes that can fly higher and faster and operate 
in Arctic as well as tropics. 

Synthetic lubricants from pine gum were 
found useful in the extreme cold of the Arctic. 

Zirconium dioxide powder was stabilized to 
withstand the extreme heat of jet engines and 
rockets. 

An electronic “brain” was invented that will 
calculate the arrival time of airplanes at an 
airport and, in case two planes would arrive 
simultaneously, figure out a slight detour for one. 

A robot pilot was developed to control the 
flight of a heavy plane from take-off to landing, 
using flight data coded on a punched paper tape. 

A new kind of radar, which responds to air- 
planes but not to stationary objects such as build- 
ings, went into operation as a landing aid. 

A sled that can travel at twice the speed of 
sound was created to test the design of new 
parachutes for jet planes. 


ANTHROPOLOGY-ARCHAEOLOGY 
Find Bone Fragment 
Of Most Ancient Man 


A fragment of bone of the most ancient true 
man so far known, some millions of years old 
and found in South Africa, was cleaned and 
readied for scientific study. 

Fresh evidence that the “Taungs Baby” was 
more human than ape was provided by a mathe- 
matical study of the dimensions of the milk 
canine teeth. 

A complete rib of 12,000-year-old Folsom 
Man, with the skeletons of three dire wolves 
that had probably killed him, was found in 
New Mexico. 

Bones of the Old Stone Age infant were found 
in a cave in Iraq; the cave is now inhabited and 
has been continuously for some 100,000 years. 

Human weapons and tools found in the frozen 
soil of Alaska were dated by geological methods 
as being from 3,000 to 7,000 years old, belong- 
ing to a period when the climate was much 
milder than it is today. 

Further evidence of a pole-girdling migration 
of early man from Europe through Siberia, 
Alaska and Canada to Greenland was seen in 
delicately made burins found near the west 
coast of Hudson Bay. 

The jaw of Piltdown Man, the “Dawn Man” 
of Sussex, was definitely proved to be a hoax; 
the other skull fragments are authentic but not 
more than 50,000 years old. 

Fluted weapon points of the type known as 
eastern Folsom, relics of people who lived some 
7,000 years ago, were found near the Roanoke 
River in southern Virginia. 

Evidence in the form of associated extinct 
animal bones showing that the ancient men who 
were makers of the “Clovis” points were hunt- 
ing in America more than 15,000 years ago was 
reported; similar evidence showed that Folsom 
Man, although more recent than the Clovis 
people, lived in America long before Yuma Man. 

The first known Indian-carved nude figure of 
a woman found on the face of a canyon wall 
showed the marks of smallpox eruption and 
commemorated the recovery of the woman. 

The practically unknown people of the upper 
Xingu River, in Brazil’s Mato Grosso, were 


Science News LETTER for December 19, 1953 


visited by a party of anthropologists and found 
to be dying out. 

Technical experts recommended the new use 
of 2,000-year-old cisterns to store water to re- 
claim the Negev desert area in Israel. 

A cooperative X-ray study by medical and 
anthropological experts of Indian bones in the 
Smithsonian Institution was undertaken; it is ex- 
pected to show whether tuberculosis and syphilis 
are native in America. 

An intensive study of children on Manus 
Island 25 years ago was followed up by study 
of the same individuals as adults. 


ASTRONOMY 
New Observatories and 
New Equipment in 1953 


Plans for establishing a national observatory 
to be run jointly by several institutions were 
discussed. 

Construction was started on the world’s largest 
telescope for radio observation, the 3,000-inch at 
Jodrell Bank near Manchester, England. 

A new method of combining photography and 
electronics was used to obtain clearer and faster 
pictures of faint stars. 

An ultrasensitive, photon-counting photometer 
doubled the volume of space viewed by Mount 
Palomar’s 200-inch telescope, allowing observa- 
tion of magnitude 23 stars. 

Radio waves emitted by neutral hydrogen 
were used to discern that the volumes of the 
Clouds of Magellan are larger and their motions 
more turbulent than when measured by light 
alone. 

Further evidences that the universe is more 
than twice as large and twice as old as pre- 
viously estimated, and is expanding at a much 
slower rate, were reported. 

Confirmation of the belief that most asteroids 
are irregular rotating fragments was obtained 
from photoelectric measurements of ten asteroids. 

Theories for applying Einstein relativity equa- 
tions to gas dynamics were developed. 

The Lyman-alpha spectroscopic line of hydro- 
gen, far in the ultraviolet portion of the sun’s 
spectrum, was successfully photographed for the 
first time from a rocket nearly 50 miles above 
the earth’s surface. 

Occultation of the radio source in Crab Neb- 
ula by the extreme outer parts of the sun’s 
corona was observed for the second time. 

Galaxies in collision and ghosts of dead stars 
were suggested as sources of heavenly radio 
signals; the number of known radio sources was 
doubled. 

Radio astronomers hope to find out how fast 
the universe is expanding by measuring, in the 
radio range, “red shifts” of very far distant 
galaxies. 

Further observations of sections of the spiral 
arms of our galaxy in the Milky Way were 
made, sodium and calcium as well as hydrogen 
serving as signposts. 

The Large Cloud of Magellan, nearest galaxy, 
was found to contain scores of supergiant blue 
stars 10,000 times as bright as our sun and 
colossal red stars as much as 1,000,000 times 
the sun’s volume, the red stars probably being 
the youngest stars in that galaxy. 

Trails of ionized air left by tiny meteors en- 
tering our atmosphere were found to reflect radio 
waves, promising to double or triple the chan- 
nels available for communication over thousand- 
mile distances. 

Support for the theory that comets have hearts 
of ices of common gases was obtained from dis- 
covery of hydrogen in spectrographs of Perseid 
meteors. 

The first sunspot of the new solar cycle was 
seen. 

Part of the light of the night sky was ac- 


counted for as produced when powerful cosmic 
rays enter the upper atmosphere. 

Data on observations of zodiacal light sup- 
ported the theory that this light is sunlight re- 
flected by the scattered remains of the cosmic 
dust cloud from which the solar system may 
have been formed; the connection of the zodiacal 
light and the corona was demonstrated. 

A new type of camera was developed to ob- 
tain clear photographs of the moon and back- 
ground stars on the same plate. 

Glycine and two other amino acids, necessary 
for living things, were produced in a miniature 
atmosphere of methane, ammonia, water and 
hydrogen by an electric discharge. 

A machine for automatically scanning photo- 
graphic plates, identifying and measuring the 
exact location of stars, and recording their posi- 
tions, was put in operation. 

An asteroid, moving very rapidly and ap- 
proaching close to the earth, was observed. 

Five eclipses, three partial eclipses of the sun 
and two total lunar eclipses, occurred during 
1953. 

Two more meteor streams were linked with 
periodic comets, Comet Tuttle 1926-IV and 
Comet Mellish 1917-1. 

A transit of Mercury, a rare astronomical 
event occurring only 13 or 14 times a century, 
was observed on Nov. 14. 


BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 
Heredity Units Tied 
To Chemical, DNA 


The manner of duplication of chemicals that 
carry on heredity within the germ cells was 
suggested by the proposed structure for desoxy- 
ribonucleic acid (DNA) as two intertwined com- 
plementary molecular chains which uncoil and 
become templates for genetic replication. 

An answer to the key question of photosyn- 
thesis was proposed in a theory that energy 
packets released by chlorophyll strike the proto- 
gen molecule, breaking a bond tying the two 
sulfur atoms together; the energy is retained in 
the two resulting molecular fragments that then 
combine with other molecules to build protein. 

Tests duplicating conditions that probably 
existed before life appeared on earth showed 
that chlorophyll could have been spontaneously 
created when two common gases and water 
were passed over heated silica. 

Chlorophyll was found to promote the release 
of water vapor from leaves, in addition to its 
function in capturing energy from sunlight, in 
the manufacture of food out of carbon. dioxide 
and water. 

Debris of chromosomes left after the smashing 
of a virus have been photographed with the 
electron microscope. 

Algae can provide food high in protein and 
other necessary food elements suitable for hu- 
man diet, it was found, giving promise of sav- 
ing future populations from starvation. 

By labeling two bacterial viruses with radio- 
active phosphorus, it was found that the virus 
attacks its cell victim through chemical groups 
of atoms on the cell’s surface. 

Ways were found to increase the growth of 
algae in sunlight so as to provide a possible 
oxygen source for future space travelers. 

A combination operation of sewage disposal 
and algae growing produced fodder for higher 
animals during waste disposal. 

Chick embryos survived freezing in liquid 
nitrogen at 320 degrees below zero Fahrenheit 
and thawing in tyrode solution. 

A new method was found for keeping cells 
alive inside a plastic incubator under a micro- 
scope while motion pictures were made. 

A coelacanth, survivor of a long-gone geologic 





Science News Letter for December 19, 1953 


FROZEN EXPLOSIONS—This fiery ball from what the Atomic Energy 

Commission reservedly calls the explosion of a “nuclear device” on March 

17 of this year was stopped photographically in a few millionths of a second 

by a super-speed camera just before it disintegrated the steel tower shown 

below it. The camera, called the Rapatronic, has an electronic shutter and 

no moving parts. A single exposure type, it was built by Edgerton, Ger- 
meshausen & Grier, Inc., of Boston. 


age, and the third ever found, was caught off 
Madagascar. 

Bacteriological warfare experts joined forces 
with biologists to isolate the poison with which 
“red tides” kill fish. 

A mystery disease of young cattle, usually 
fatal, attacked animals in western corn belt 
states, and was studied in about 50 herds. 

A strange disease that attacked sheep flocks 
in California was identified as blue tongue sick- 
ness, previously unknown outside of Africa. 

The San Benedicto Island wren was rendered 
extinct by the birth of a new volcano on the 
island. 

New birds, including babbler, lark and war- 
bler, were discovered in the Arabian Sultanate 
of Muscat and Oman. 

Genes are changed by mutation-causing agents 
but only indirectly through changes in the cell 
metabolism, it was found. 

Better varieties of many vegetables and flowers 
became possible through development of a sterile 
pollen method of producing hybrid seed. 

Brood X, biggest and widest-spread group of 
the periodical 17-year cicadas, emerged for six 
weeks of life spent in singing and laying eggs 
that will hatch in 1970. 

Tiny black beetles of the family Nitidulidae 
were found to spread the fungus disease oak 
wilt from infected to healthy trees. 


Gypsy moth caterpillars set a new record for 
tree damage when they destroyed the foliage of 
some 1,500,000 acres of trees in the New Eng- 
land region. 

After the destruction of large numbers of 
animals with the “sanitary rifle,’ Mexico aban- 
doned the attempt to wipe out hoof and mouth 
disease in this way, but later agreed to the 
“evacuation” of diseased animals. 

A new antibiotic, oligomycin, was isolated and 
showed promise in the control of plant fungus 
diseases. 

A hydrocarbon insecticide 100 times as deadly 
as DDT, yet non-poisonous to man and domes- 
tic animals, was developed. 

Study was begun on the long-neglected horse- 
shoe crab, sea creature that has resisted evolu- 
tionary change for millions of years. 

Sharp decreases were noted in the catch of 
two California commercial fish species—sardines 
and Pacific mackerel. 

Psittacosis, parrot fever, was found for the 
first time in turkeys. 

New rules were adopted to govern the scien- 
tific naming of animals; it is hoped that they 
will end the confusion between European and 
American practices. 

Australia’s marsupials have been getting 
smaller since the Pleistocene age and the process 
is still going on, it was found. 


393 


CHEMISTRY-PHYSICS 
Einstein Revises 
Gravitational Theory 


A revision of Einstein’s generalized theory of 
gravitation was published, a forward step toward 
finding a single theory to describe both gravita- 
tion and electromagnetism. 

Experimental proof was obtained for the 
Nernst-Einstein relation of the mobility of elec- 
trons and holes, important in transistor research. 

The spinor was suggested as the first arch of 
a possible bridge between Einstein’s unified field 
theory and quantum concepts. 

A thermometer sensitive to the electrical noise 
generated by heat in a fine platinum wire was 
investigated for measuring high temperatures. 

The radio roof, or reflecting layer, was found 
to lower to the usual daytime level just as the 
sun begins to rise. 

Hard-to-detect strains in metals were spotted 
by measuring minute changes in spacing between 
their atoms as revealed by X-ray diffraction. 

Prediction was made of a new acousto-electric 
effect by which electrons are carried by sound 
when an acoustic wave passes through a semi- 
conductor. 

The exact time that an electric charge hovers 
over one or another of the atoms in a molecule 
was calculated. 

New information about the meson was prom- 
ised by the discovery that this fundamental 
particle can originate in atomic collisions of 
only a few billion electron volt energies. 

Beams of mesons were used to measure the 
size of the atomic nucleus, which was found to 
be smaller by 15% than previously thought; a 
polarized proton beam was also used to study 
the nucleus. 

More accurate evidence was obtained that 
atomic nuclei can be electrically excited without 
actually colliding. 

A 60,000-kilowatt full-scale atomic reactor 
was designed to produce peaceful atomic energy. 

A cosmic ray observatory, serviced by airplane, 
was established on the summit of Mt. Wrangell, 
a 14,000-foot peak in Alaska. 

Bombardment of the earth with cosmic rays 
from outer space has not varied more than 20% 
over the last 35,000 years, it was concluded. 

A new charge exchange accelerator using 
protons as atomic projectiles, under development 
at the University of California, was dubbed the 
“swindletron” because it “cheats” by giving two 
boosts of energy to the projectile for each elec- 
trical impulse. 

Plans were discussed for a 15-billion-electron- 
volt “colossatron,” a giant atomic accelerator 
using the new, strong-focusing principle de- 
veloped last year. 

The beam of a 2,000,000-volt atom smasher 
was pin-pointed so that it would strike only 
one or a very few of the genes in a living cell, 
contributing information on which parts of the 
cell would be most affected by radiation from 
an atom bomb. 

An electron synchrotron that may later use 
the new strong focusing system started work at 
Cornell University. 

The Patent Office allowed claims on a high- 
frequency analysis aid that gives a highly sensi- 
tive reading of molecular changes when a known 
chemical is added to an unknown solution. 

The possibility that the hydrogen bomb can 
be made without using the older fission-type 
atomic bomb as a trigger was speculated upon. 
A possible trigger was forecast in exploding 
wire experiments in the 1920’s to duplicate the 
temperatures of the stars. 

An explosion occurred in Russia which may 
have been of a hydrogen superbomb; civil de- 
fense authorities assumed that Russia has a 
stockpile of at least 67 atomic bombs. 


394 


Blast waves from an atomic bomb in Nevada 
rose as high as 50 miles into the sky to be re- 
flected back to earth as much as 600 miles away. 

A new joint task force was planned to con- 
tinue research on “thermonuclear weapons” at 
Eniwetok and Bikini. 

The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to 
the Dutch physicist Dr. F. Zernike of the Uni- 
versity of Groningen for development of the 
phase microscope, in which living cells can be 
“stained” by light waves without killing them. 

The chemical structure of aureomycin, anti- 
biotic drug, was discovered, making practical 
synthesis possible although highly improbable. 

Substances known as lysine polypeptides, 
which affect some viruses and bacteria in much 
the same way as the antibodies that create 
immunity, were synthesized. 

Catalase, an important plant and animal en- 
zyme, may be a factor in the natural synthesis 
of both chlorophyll and hemoglobin, plant and 
animal research indicated. 

ACTH, pituitary gland hormone, was isolated 
as a pure white powder soluble in water and 
with a molecular weight of about 3,500. 

FAD, or flavin-adenine-dinucleotide, coenzyme 
essential to the utilization of oxygen, was syn- 
thesized. 

An electronic device was developed, operating 
ultrasonically or in the audible range, to meas- 
ure liquid flow, including blood flow without 
use of surgery. 

A new way of separating small particles, such 
as cells or bacteria that are of equal density but 
different electrical conductivity, was found in 
their behavior in a magnetic field. 

Careful temperature control made possible the 
manufacture of germanium crystals uniformly 
enough to make transistors interchangeable. 

A sixth series of atomic spectrum lines, as 
well as the five previously known, was found 
in light given off by excited hydrogen atoms; 
the new series is in the infrared part of the 
spectrum. 

When a cerium compound is dissolved in 
water and the solution set in sunlight, it was 
observed, two chemical reactions occurring in 
seesaw succession split the water into hydrogen 
and oxygen. 

Compounds of aluminum, gallium and indium 
with arsenic and antimony were found capable 
of acting as semiconductors and possibly as re- 
placements for hard-to-get germanium. 

By separate studies of X-ray diffraction pat- 
terns and mathematical theory, new understand- 
ing was reached of the structure of protein as 
a complex twisted form in which spring-shaped 
molecular chains are intertwined. 

Nine semi-living chemical substances known 
as enzymes were found to work in unison to 
permit the human digestion of fat. 

A new natural uranium mineral, found in a 
Utah mine, was named Umohoite. 

Radioactive cotton grown on a living cotton 
plant gave scientists new evidence on how cellu- 
lose is formed. 

A whole new series of plastics was made pos- 
sible from compounds of phosphorus, nitrogen, 
boron and arsenic with other chemicals. 

A synthetic rubber with resistance to aging 
due to oxidation and long wearing was made 
from the antifreeze fluids, propylene glycol and 
ethylene glycol, mixed with adipic acid. 

A food packaging material was made from a 
special type of saran that shrinks to fit the 
contents. 

A fertilizer material was developed to give 
soil a full year’s supply of nitrogen safely in 
one application. 

Drying of paints, varnishes and inks was 
hastened by adding amine chemicals and metals 
to the linseed oil. 

Cooking fat odor found unpleasant in res- 


Science News Letter for December 19, 1953 


taurant kitchens was conquered by synthetic 
antioxidants that protect against rancidity. 

A new chemical to protect foods from mold 
spoilage was announced, as were two soy prod- 
ucts that give bread a built-in fresh feel. 

The tang of the Mexican drink tequila was 
found to be contributed by inulin, contained in 
the agave plant in place of starch; this is fer- 
mented to alcohol. 

The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded 
to Dr. Hermann Staudinger for pioneering re- 
search in high polymer chemistry, establishing 
that the molecules of polymerized materials 
are true compounds and have their atoms in 
long chains. 


EARTH SCIENCES 
Government Enters 
Numerical Forecasting 


An English party succeeded in reaching the 
top of Mr. Everest on the eve of Queen Eliza- 
beth’s coronation; other attempts were made to 
climb Mt. Annapurna, Nepal (successful), Mt. 
Goodwin Austen (Mt. K-2) on the Pakistan- 
India border (unsuccessful), and Mt. Llullaillaco 
on the Argentine-Chilean border (successful). 

The greatest depth under the sea was reached 
when a descent was made to 10,339 feet off the 
island of Ponza, Italy, where complete blackness 
was found broken only by phosphorescent 
flickers. 

Numerical weather prediction by means of 
high-speed electronic computers achieved, for 
the first time, prediction of the development of 
an extra-tropical cyclonic storm; because of this 
success, the government established an opera- 
tional numerical forecasting unit. 

Granite rock from Manitoba, Canada, was 
found to be 3,500 million years old, the oldest 





TWISTED STRANDS OF LIFE — 
Dr. Linus Pauling, California Insti- 
tute of Technology chemist, demon- 
strates with strands of rope how 
strands of molecules are twisted into 
the structure of protein. Such studies 
may explain the nature of living mat- 
ter, as scientists learn to unravel the 
rope-like form, and may also yield 
clues to cancer’s cause and cure. 


known; lead tetramethyl, made from radioactive 
lead, yielded the same figure. 

A hurricane’s eye extends to the top of the 
storm and then comes back to earth in a second 
column of calm air 200 to 300 miles away 
called the “hyperbolic point”; tracking the 
hyperbolic point, it was reported, may permit 
better forecasting of the hurricane path. 

Cross-polarization of radar transmitting and 
receiving instruments made it possible to detect 
the presence of ice crystals in high clouds, thus 
providing additional clues relating to the occur- 
rence of rain or snow. 

The process by which heat and pressure deep 
under the earth’s crust deform rocks and cause 
them to flow was duplicated in the laboratory. 

Great internal waves, reaching a height of 
300 feet but not rippling the surface, were 
found in the heart of ocean depths. 

The general level of the world’s oceans was 
found to have risen five inches since 1895, due 
largely to melting polar ice. 

A disastrous flood resulting from a severe 
storm caused great damage in the low countries 
of Europe. 

Dutch farm land, ruined by salt when floods 
broke the dykes and rushed over the land, was 
reclaimed by a process of ion exchange. 

A widespread and serious drought caused 
great loss, especially to cattlemen, in the South- 
west. 

A national water shortage was found to be 
due to greatly increased use and not to a gen- 
eral drop in water resources. 

Volcanic eruptions included one of Krakatoa, 
famous East Indian volcano, and a new volcano, 
San Benedicto, off the Lower California coast. 

Research studies indicated that the earth’s 
core is of solid iron surrounded by the same 
metal in a molten state, and that the tempera- 
ture at the boundary between the two is a little 
greater than 8,400 degrees Fahrenheit; jet 
streams and swirling currents make motion of 
the core similar to that of the upper atmosphere. 

More than 500 tornadoes hit the United 
States, making 1953 a record year, the increase 
being attributed in part to improved observing 
and reporting programs. 

The first ‘“‘mid-ocean” submarine canyon was 
discovered. 

Underwater television was successfully used 
to study fish life roo feet below the surface of 
a Canadian lake and the ocean bottom at a 
similar depth. 

A new radioactive mineral called cheralite, 
containing uranium and thorium, was discov- 
ered in India. 

Motion pictures, taken of a radar screen 
tracking the storm, showed the birth and 
growth of a Midwestern tornado. 

Congressional action provided for the estab- 
lishment of a committee to study the feasibility 
of rain making and other forms of weather 
modification. 

Holes drilled through 4,000 feet of the hard 
coral crust of Eniwetok atoll uncovered evidence 
that the base rock is volcanic lava. 

Powerful flashes of lightning were found to 
be associated with the growth of ice pellets or 
soft hail of thunderstorms. 

Large scale eddies, cyclones and anti-cyclones 
were duplicated in laboratory models of the 
atmosphere, using both smoke in air and dyes 
in water. 

Preliminary studies of the formation of fog 
droplets indicated that the nuclei may be partly 
made up of tiny crystals of salt evaporated from 
the ocean. 

Measurements of electric charges on cloud 
droplets and the electric field of natural clouds 
suggested that the reason certain clouds produce 
rain and others remain unproductive may be 
related to electrification. 


Theoretical relationships between the vertical 
ascent of air and the rate of precipitation were 
developed into practical forecasting procedures. 

A new type balloon made of nylon webbing 
launched from the nose of a rocket was used 
to obtain weather data from extremely high 
altitudes. 

A new seismograph capable of recording 
strong earthquake waves after they have circled 
the earth eight times went into operation and 
recorded mantle Rayleigh waves, extremely 
long waves that may penetrate to the core of 
the earth and reveal its structure. 

Fragments of a skull unearthed in Oregon 
were identified as belonging to a 10,000,000- 
year-old mastodon. 

An inexpensive, easy-to-build wind gauge 
was developed for the use of farmers in con- 
nection with agricultural spraying. 

An optical hygrometer, new, highly sensitive, 
speedy instrument for measuring humidity, 
especially useful in below-freezing temperatures, 
was developed. 

Study of 50-year records of the intensity of 
sunlight revealed information about the thick- 
ness of the ozone layer surrounding the earth. 

The speed with which stars twinkle may in- 
dicate where jet streams are and how fast they 
flow, it was suggested. 

Dammed up water in three abandoned an- 
thracite coal mines seriously threatened the 
economic future and safety of three counties in 
Pennsylvania. 

Fluctuations in the Florida Current, impor- 
tant branch of the Gulf Stream, were measured 
during 1953 by electromagnetic induction. 

Oceanographers found a heat flow from the 
ocean bottom equal to that from high and dry 
continents caused by radioactive elements. 

For the first time in 20 years, snow-covered 
glaciers in Norway slowly moved forward. 

A new research tool, in the form of a bibliog- 
raphy of all the literature on the Arctic put out 
in the last 75 years, was made available. 


ENGINEERING-TECHNOLOGY 
Tape Recording System 
For Color Television 


A tape recording system was developed for 
black and white and color television programs 
which permits immediate playback, can be 
wiped clean and reused, and costs much less 
than film recordings. 

“Project Tinkertoy” proved satisfactory; it is 
a program for putting radios, radars and elec- 
tronic bombsights into mechanized production 
through use of standardized parts of printed 
circuits that can be assembled by machine. 

Progress toward entirely push-button factories 
included an electronic machine controlled by 
instructions on a magnetic tape, and an auto- 
matic eye operating in the infrared to give a 
continuous analysis of liquid chemicals. 

Electronic machines to handle such clerical 
work as production scheduling and supply 
problems were under development. 

A mathematical model of an electronic com- 
puter that reproduces itself was developed. 

A new type of “brain” utilized 10,000 tiny 
ting-shaped magnets woven into a netting of 
wires to serve as a memory to store 10,000 bits 
of information in an instant. 

A new automobile motor oil was developed 
to help engine starting in extremely cold 
weather, but which will not evaporate when 
the days turn warm. 

A wrist radio using five transistors instead of 
vacuum tubes was produced; it picked up 
broadcasts 40 miles away. 


Science News LETTER for December 19, 1953 























395 










































































eee 





TRANSISTOR MODELS—These are experimental models of the novel de- 


vice that promises to revolutionize electronics and communication. 


Of ex- 


tremely small size, and using infinitesimal amounts of power, the transistor is 
nevertheless rugged and does most of the work of fragile vacuum tubes. 


A 40o-kilovolt transmission line was success- 
fully used to transmit hydroelectric power over 
a 600-mile distance in Sweden; this is a record 
high operational transmission, voltage level. 

Development continued on unusual ceramic 
materials needed by the Atomic Energy Com- 
mission to withstand the harmful effects of 
atomic radiation and extraordinary high tem- 
peratures. 

Some half dozen catalyst beads impregnated 
with radioactive zirconium were used routinely 
to indicate the circulation rate of billions (tons) 
of catalyst beads in several gasoline cracking 
refineries. 

An experimental plant went into operation 
to extract aluminum metal from common clay; 
the idea is to make this country independent of 
imported bauxite as an aluminum source. 

A specially built camera making exposures 
of from one- to ten-millionths of a second was 
used to photograph tiny dirt and moisture 
particles in the air. 

Nut shells and fruit pits were put to indus- 
trial uses such as anti-skid agents in car tires, 
fillers in plastics and blasting grits for cleaning 
airplane engine parts. 

Silicone rubber was used successfully for 
electric wire insulation, standing up under ex- 
tremes of heat and cold. 

‘A “bottle-cap” bomb was developed to be 
exploded underwater in case of shipwreck to 
send a call for help through water to the 
Navy’s underwater listening posts in the Pacific. 

A miniature radar-ranging gear was devel- 
oped to feed range information continuously 
and automatically to the gunsight in a fighter 
plane to relieve the pilot of this extra work. 

An airborne television camera was under de- 
velopment to aid in battle action, and to survey 
disaster relief needs and work. 

A three-dimensional technique was developed 
for making photomicrographs. 

A combination of asphalt and white-burned 
flint was used to make a skidsafe highway 
surface. 

New streamlined periscopes were put on 
Navy submarines. 

An electric power generator with turbine was 
designed to be powered by steam above the 
“critical pressure’—the point above which 
water changes to steam without boiling first. 


Water was pumped into the subsoil of Mex- 
ico City by rehydration wells to restore the 
water supply of the city and stop its sinking 
into the ground. 

Small gobs of air, called “dielectric” eddies, 
in the atmosphere were found to disrupt tele- 
vision transmission in fringe areas. 

Television waves and other very high fre- 
quency signals were found to be bent around 
mountains by diffraction to continue along a 
long path on the other side of the obstacle. 

A new film scanner was developed to improve 
the quality of movies broadcast by television. 

Coating cookie trays and other baking pans 
with a new plastic, polytetrafluoroethylene, 
made it unnecessary to grease the pans. 

Storing natural gas underground near the 
location of heavy users was found to help 
alleviate gas shortages during sudden cold snaps. 

An L-shaped fence staple with the long shank 
threaded was introduced and found to carry a 
heavier load and hold better in creosoted posts 
than the older U-shaped staple. 

A wire rope with a plastic core unaffected by 
acids, caustics and other sub-surface substances 
was developed for use in drilling oil and gas 
wells, 

Magnesium was used in lightweight automo- 
bile bodies and found to be better than plastic. 

An electromagnetic “divining rod” was de- 
veloped to locate underground water sources. 

A new method of reproducing maps by line- 
scribing on an opaque emulsion applied to 
plastic sheeting was reported. 

The familiar white stripe marking the traffic 
lanes on highways can now be made of long- 
wearing plastic, it was reported. 

An aerial estimator, device resembling a re- 
flector-type gunsight, was developed to help in 
estimating the size of forest fires, timber stands, 
lakes, etc. 

A fluorescent lamp with quartz inner tube 
was found to give about two and a half times 
more light than an incandescent lamp of equal 
wattage and to last about five times longer. 

A method was found for working 16-Alfenol, 
heretofore an unusable magnetic curiosity. 

Use of barite as an aggregate in concrete was 
found to help buildings withstand the blast of 
bombs and protect the occupants from atomic 
radiation. 


396 


A coaxial telephone cable system was installed 
between New York and Philadelphia to carry 
simultaneously 1,800 separate conversations. 

An amphibious cargo vehicle, looking like a 
scow and intended to land tanks ready for 
combat, was reported. 

A new insecticide that will enable the house- 
wife to mothproof her woolens in the rinse 
water was reported. 

Use of radioactive tracers to label the oil 
intended for various destinations enabled the 
operator at any point along the pipe-line to 
draw off just the batch intended for him. 

Two new types of transistors, “tetrodes” and 
“pentodes,” were announced; they have three 
and four wires, respectively, instead of two. 

Crystals of barium titanate were found ca- 
pable of “memorizing” answers to 250 ques- 
tions and producing them on demand in the 
form of positive or negative electric charges. 

A large experimental transistor has been pro- 
duced that is capable of handling 20 watts of 
output power. 

Work began on a new television technique 
that permits engineers to substitute inexpensive 
postcard-like pictures for elaborate stage sets. 

A telephonic robot device was developed that 
“listens” to clearly enunciated digits, then 
matches the sound pattern electronically to 
standard referents stored in its memory, and 
responds by flashing an appropriate light. 

Three-dimension (3-D) rocked the movie in- 
dustry as Natural Vision, using polarized. light 
and glasses, competed for box-office dollars with 
CinemaScope, using anamorphic camera and 
projection lenses. 

Mathematical formulas were worked out 
with which engineers can determine when the 
electric devices used in airplanes and guided 
missiles are likely to break down. 


MEDICAL SCIENCES 
Polio Virus Shown 
As Sphere-Shaped 


Plans for a large scale field trial, starting in 
February, 1954, and involving at least 500,000 
second grade children, of a vaccine against all 
three types of poliomyelitis were announced. 

Gamma globulin from blood was given 
widely to children in many regions in hope of 
preventing paralysis from poliomyelitis, follow- 
ing reported successful field trials of it in the 
1952 season. 

Electron microscope pictures and measure- 
ments of the poliomyelitis virus were made, 
showing it to be sphere-shaped and about a 
millionth of an inch in diameter. 

Discoveries of a new virus, called Mack virus, 
which can cause a polio-like disease, and of 
another virus, called Kentucky virus, which 
may be a fourth type of polio virus, were 
announced. 

The third of the three known strains of polio 
virus was adapted to growth in laboratory mice. 

Synthesis of oxytocin, first pituitary gland 
hormone to be synthesized, was announced 
with the hint that synthesis of another pituitary 
hormone, vasopressin, was almost accomplished. 

Growth hormone from the pituitary gland 
and thyroxin from the thyroid were reported 
responsible for tooth growth and eruption. 

Essential fatty acids from fat in the diet were 
reported effective in protecting laboratory rats 
from critical doses of X-rays similar to atomic 
bomb radiation. 

Three women became pregnant by artificial 
insemination with frozen human spermatozoa 
in first application to humans of method widely 
used in animal breeding. 

First report of study of first generation of 
children born to parents who survived atomic 


Science News Lerrer for December 19, 1953 


bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed 
ne bad effects of significance, with only slight 
increase in stillbirths and births of malformed 
babies. 

Siamese twins joined at the head were sepa- 
rated surgically with survival of one. 

Study of sexual behavior of 5,940 white 
women showed, among other things and for the 
group studied, although there were wide indi- 
vidual variations, that females become sexually 
responsive later and remain so to an older age 
than men, are affected by fewer and different 
psychological factors than men, are more faith- 
ful when married than men, are more successful 
in marriage when prepared by premarital sexual 
experience and are less “frigid” in marriage if 
born after 1900 than before. 

Research suggested patients with multiple 
sclerosis might be helped by a diet low in fat, 
particularly if started early in the course of the 
disease. 

Treatment to raise blood pressure and stimu- 
late circulation was advised for multiple sclero- 
sis patients in a report showing two-thirds of 
all early, microscopically small multiple sclerosis 
damage spots located close to blood vessels, and 
that more than half of 250 patients had mark- 
edly low blood pressure. 

More people have multiple sclerosis and there 
are more deaths from the disease in Canada 
and the northern states than in the South, a 
geographic survey showed. 

A chick embryo method for cutting time to 
diagnose tuberculosis from weeks to days was 
announced. 

A new drug promising to help streptomycin 
in treatment of tuberculosis, called HES, or 
hydroxyethyl sulfone, was synthesized. 

An anti-tuberculosis vaccine was made from 
urea-killed virulent human tubercle bacilli. 

A chemical in the body, lysozyme, was found 
important in resistance to tuberculosis. 

A way to avoid sleeping-pill deaths was found 
by combining a barbiturate with Metrazol. 

Evidence was found that the growth hormone 
from the pituitary gland may be the cause of 
arthritis. 

Cortisone, anti-arthritis adrenal gland hor- 
mone, was reported effective antidote for yellow 
phosphorus poisoning. 

One form of anti-anemia vitamin B-12, 
hydroxo-cobalamin, was found in mice to act 
as swift antidote to cyanide poisoning. 

Formation of disease-fighting antibodies was 
found to depend, in part at least, on getting in 
the diet plenty of these vitamins: pantothenic 
acid, folic acid and pyridoxine. 

Examination of white blood cells for lympho- 
cytes with two-lobed nuclei was reported a prac- 
tical, sensitive test for exposure to very small 
amounts of atomic radiation from cyclotrons. 

The hereditary bleeding disease, hemophilia, 
heretofore thought only a male disease, was 
found to occur in females also. 

The artery disease, atherosclerosis, was pro- 
duced for the first time in monkeys by a special 
diet, giving scientists an animal that eats human 
type food for further research on this circula- 
tory disease. 

Novocaine was announced as a simple cure 
for warts on the soles of the feet. 

Cortisone was reported to have saved 75% 
of babies from Rh blood deaths. 

Radioactive cortisone and hydrocortisone were 
made with carbon 14. 

Discovery of a link between anti-anemia vita- 
min B-12 and diabetes, particularly diabetic 
blindness, gave further evidence for the vitamin 
being involved in the body’s handling of fat 
and carbohydrates. 

Plasminogen, newly isolated fraction of hu- 
man blood, was found capable of dissolving 
dangerous blood clots in veins. 


A blood pressure lowering chemical, androm- 
edotoxin, was discovered in rhododendron 
leaves. 

A parasite called toxoplasma was announced 
as probable cause of widespread eye infections. 

Irradiation of pork with cobalt 60 was re- 
ported effective for killing trichina, cause of 
serious disease, trichinosis. 

A treatment with 22 amino acids and selected 
vitamins was reported helpful in muscular 
dystrophy. 

Discovery that there are groups and types of 
blood platelets as well as of red blood cells was 
announced. 

Discovery of the tissue network that connects 
teeth to gums was announced. 

Adrenalin production starts before birth, per- 
haps helping prevent prebirth or birth asphyxi- 
ation, studies of unborn lambs showed. 

A new drug for ulcer patients, a quaternary 
ammonium compound akin to so-called soapless 
soaps, went on the market. 

Methoxamine hydrochloride, a synthetic drug, 
was found effective for treating excessively 
rapid heart beating (supraventricular tachy- 
cardia). 

Discovery of an abnormal adrenal hormone, 
17a-hydroxypregnanolone, in arthritis patients 
was announced. 

A new adrenal gland stimulating hormone 
from the pituitary, called AGF and distinct from 
ACTH, was discovered. 

Rheumatoid arthritis was labeled a killer as 
well as a crippler for the first time. 

A drug to eliminate excess water, sodium and 
potassium from water-logged tissues of patients 
with congestive heart failure was made from 
sulfanilamide, trade named Diamox. 

An artery crushing operation was found to 
relieve rigidity and involuntary movements of 
Parkinsonism. 

The digestive enzyme, trypsin, was found 
capable of dissolving life-threatening clots in 
the heart’s arteries and, in aerosol form, of 
helping asthma patients. 

A synthetic drug that stops coughing without 
addiction or pain-relieving properties was found 
in the dextro isomer of the synthetic pain- 
killer, Dromoran. 

A case of so-called sex reversal, more accu- 
rately castration and hormone treatment to 
enable a male transvestite to achieve more 
nearly the desired feminine state, was widely 
reported and discussed. 

Temporary relief of symptoms in an always 
fatal type of brain cancer was achieved by 
neutron radiation treatment. 

A drug, 6-mercaptopurine, that halts leuke- 
mia at least temporarily was announced. 

A new synthetic hormone drug, androstano- 
lone, with weak masculinizing effects, was re- 
ported helpful to women with advanced inop- 
erable breast cancer. 

Radioactive gold wire encased in non-active 
gold tubing was developed as a safer and more 
advantageous treatment for cancer than the use 
of radium seeds. 

Plans for treating cancer patients with radia- 
tion from cesium 137 were announced. 

A fatty substance from small intestines of 
mice and rats was found to destroy cancer cells 
in the test tube, leaving normal cells unharmed 
and seen as clue to chemical control of cancer. 

Hormone production of the mother’s glands 
during pregnancy was reported possibly causing 
predisposition to some kinds of cancers. 

Diagnosis of heart disease by TV was prom- 
ised for the future through a new X-ray unit. 

Three-dimensional X-ray pictures were made 
using synchronously moving X-ray tube and 
subject. 

An electric stimulus across the chest was 
made to act as sole “pacemaker” to keep a 


stopped heart beating for five days when it 
started on its own again. 

The heart was found to beat faster, pumping 
more blood to lungs and tissues, at high 
altitudes. 

The $60,000,000, 500-bed clinical center of 
the Public Health Service opened. 

The 1953 Nobel Prize in medicine was 
awarded jointly to Dr. Fritz A. Lipmann, Har- 
vard, and Dr. Hans Adolf Krebs, Sheffield, 
England. 


PSYCHIATRY-PSYCHOLOGY 
Research Team Measures 
Combat’s Effects at Front 


For the first time, a research team went into 
the combat area and obtained measures of the 
physical and mental consequences of combat 
stress; important effects were found to be de- 
hydration and a serious reduction in adult 
white blood cells. 

The chemical process involved in night vision 
was duplicated in the laboratory and one of the 
chemicals involved for daylight vision, cyanop- 
sin, was produced from an extract of dark- 
adapted rods and the cones from chicken eye 
retinas. 

Several objective tests were found to be prom- 
ising for the measurement of temperament, 
including a color film to test for the dominance 
of form over color perception or the reverse. 

When an image is kept in exactly the same 
place on the eye’s retina, it soon vanishes; when 
natural eye movements cause the image to 
shift, fine lines tend to fade but reappear, al- 
though heavy lines remain steady. 

New experiments showed clearly that com- 
plete darkness is best for dark adaptation, but 
that red goggles now used in the armed services 
do well enough for practical purposes. 

Individuals can learn to recognize at least 
10,000 distinct odors and can detect fantastically 
tenuous odors, it was found, but they are quite 
poor at distinguishing slight differences in in- 
tensity of smells. 

Two kinds of pain, pricking and burning, 
follow the same nerve pathways to the brain, it 
was determined; a finding important to sur- 
geons performing nerve-blocking operations to 
relieve intractable pain. 

Recorded messages such as telephone weather 
prediction were speeded up in transmission as 
much as two and a half times without loss of 
intelligibility by a system of cutting and splicing 
the recording tape. 

The part of the brain that controls appetite 
was located in the hypothalamus at the base of 
the brain. 

Individuals with high scores on intelligence 
tests do even better as they grow older, retest- 
ing after an interval of 30 years indicated. 

Little boys should be six months older when 
they start school than are little girls, tests of 
maturity on children indicated; this would save 
about two per cent on the cost of education. 

Follow-up study of individuals, who as chil- 
dren were placed in “opportunity rooms” for 
mental deficiency, showed they make a much 
better adjustment to life than has been supposed 
and their children, if any, go through school 
with little or no retardation. 

An Institute of Human Variation was estab- 
lished to study what biological and social fac- 
tors are responsible for producing differences 
between individuals. 

Few people act strictly according to their own 
prejudices, and many people live in a remark- 
ably strict self-imposed segregation from other 
groups; these were preliminary findings of an 
eight-year study of intergroup relations. 


Science News LETTER for December 19, 1953 


Production increases by more than a third 
when workers are grouped so that those who 
like each other are together, it was demon- 
strated. 

Special linguistic talent or very high intelli- 
gence was shown to be not necessary to learn 
a foreign language. 

Repeated failure and frightening experience 
will cause even an intelligent dog to stop 
learning, experiments showed. 

Mice defeated repeatedly in fights with other 
mice developed “combat fatigue,” a finding 
promising that these animals may be used in 
the laboratory to throw light on the causes of 
combat breakdown in human soldiers. 

A method was devised for recording the 
brain waves of a patient and a motion picture 
of his movements on the same film. 

Jerky eye movements reveal when a sleeping 
person is dreaming, it was observed. 

Many serious highway accidents occur when 
the driver jams on the brakes or swerves be- 
cause he “sees” an animal which is not there. 

Flashing lights in the eyes and semicarbazide, 
a drug related to isoniazid, new TB drug, were 
successfully used to produce convulsions for the 
shock treatment of schizophrenia. 

An elixir of metrazol was found to produce 
improvement in aged mental patients. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


TECHNOLOGY 


One-Finger Control in 
Giant Chemical Factory 


> WITH ONE-FINGER control the man 
in charge of operating the new petrochem- 
ical plant at Marcus Hook, Pa., can keep 
up with what is going on at every critical 
point in the maze of pipes, pumps, heaters 
and catalysts. 

These devices change ordinary gasoline 


397 


into pure hydrocarbons for pinpoint use in 
the chemical industry. The new installa- 
tion by the Sun Oil Co. has just begun 
operation. 

Service men no longer have to climb icy 
ladders in winter to read control meters, or, 
in summer, squeeze between tanks, where 
reactions are taking place at 900 degrees 
Fahrenheit temperature. Sitting at a desk 
in the control heart of the new plant, the 
engineer uses one finger to dial station after 
station at the desired point on the chemical 
production line, noting temperatures and 
pressures, the crucial variables. 

Meter readings from the instruments at 
those stations appear on the glass surface 
of the panel in front of him, with their 
messages. A glance tells him whether the 
chemical reactions are proceeding smoothly, 
or where to head off trouble before it ac- 
tually has started. 

Arranged to produce either high grade 
motor gasoline or one of two types of chem- 
icals, the new plant uses 800,000 barrels of 
straight-run gasoline per month, some of 
which is casinghead gas. Careful regula- 
lation of temperature and pressure in re- 
actors equipped with Houdry catalysts 
allows the plant to be run either for im- 
proved gasoline production or for manufac- 
ture of chemicals used for making dacron 
fiber or for phthalic acid, a valuable chem- 
ical of commerce. 

_Hydrogen, to the quantity of 13,000,000 
cubic feet per day, is a by-product of the 
chemical operation, which produces either 
benzene and toluene or xylene as the main 
output. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 























Ree 
































































































































































































































FINGER-TIP INDUSTRIAL CONTROL—By dialing the telephone shown 

on the desk, the operator at this new plant can be in touch with operations all 

along the production line. As he dials the different stations, the necessary 
meter readings appear on the instrument in the middle of the desk. 


398 


Science News LETTER for December 19, 1953 


- Books of the Week - 


For the editorial information of our readers, books received for review since last week's issue are listed. 
For convenient purchase of any U. S. book in print, send a remittance to cover retail price (postage will 


be paid) to Book Department, Science Service, 1719 N Street, N. W., Washington 6, D. C. 


Request free 


publications direct from publisher, not from Science Service. 


CIRCLE OF THE Seasons: The Journal of a 
Naturalists Year—Edwin Way Teale—Dodd, 
Mead, 306 p., illus., $4.00. A day by day ac- 
count through the four seasons of the observa- 
tions of a naturalist, giving many details that 
would escape all but the trained lover of nature. 


THE Common CORE oF STATE EDUCATIONAL 
INFoRMATION—Compiled by Paul L. Reason and 
others—Gov’t Printing Office, State Educational 
Records and Reports Series: Handbook 1, Bul- 
letin 1953 No. 8, 116 p., paper, 35 cents. This 
book includes the important items of educational 
information that State departments of education 
should have available annually. 


FRONTAL LOBES AND SCHIZOPHRENIA: Second 
Lobotomy Project of Boston Psychopathic Hos- 
pital—Milton Greenblatt and Harry C. Solomon, 


Understanding 
Yourself 


THE MENTAL HYGIENE OF PERSONALITY 
By Dr. Ernest R. Groves 


This inspirational book, now in its well- 
merited 8th printing, has helped thousands 
to live more wisely, more fully, more happily, 
more effectively—in the best sense, more prof- 
itably; for a thorough understanding of self is 
the very bedrock foundation on which to build 
for peace of mind and sound mental health. 


“Dr. Groves writes this book to help individuals 
explore themselves and discover their inner cravings 
and capacities. . . . An excellent book.” —Today'’s 
Health, published by The American Medical Associa- 
tion. 

“Explains the chemical basis of personality, the 
explosive contributions of your endocrine glands, the 
emotional significance of childhood happenings, your 
sex impulses, how your habits may be your friends or 
enemies, the creative powers of your mind, and many 
other like interesting matters. e writes in the fin- 
est spirit, and out of a wide first-hand experience.’’— 
Book-of-the-Month Club. 

“The attempt of the book is to provide means by 
which the reader can come to a better understanding 
of himself. All emphasis is on the utilization of 
one’s mental and physical equipment In such a way 
that happiness and efficiency may be realized.’’— 
Scientific Book Club. 

“Any reader, young or elderly, can find in the 
book much interesting information, and can be aided 
in the attainment of more satisfactory living.’-—-New 
York Times. E j 

“Every chapter . . . is stimulating and helpful. Tt 
will enable the reader to acquire not only a better 
understanding of himself but a clearer vision of his 
powers and possibilities.”—-New York State Dept. of 
Health, Health News. 

CONTENTS: I. The Human Quest — II. The 
Framework of the Personality—III. The Chemical 
Self—IV. Body Management—V. The Headquarters 
of the Self—VI. Our Strategic Center—VII. Our 
Cultural Watershed—VIII. The Scars of Childhood— 
IX. The Fateful Passage—X. Our Psychic Power 
Plant—xXI. Uncovering the Hidden Self—XII. The 
Mind Finds Wings—XIII. The Windows of the 
Mind—xXIV. Sex, Friend or Enemy—XV. The Su- 
preme Flelowship—XVI. Consider the Stars—Ap- 
pendix. 


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Eds.—Springer, 425 p., illus., $12.50. Consoli- 
dating the results of a lobotomy project carried 
out by Boston Psychopathic Hospital and Har- 
vard Medical School, and correlating the signifi- 
cant facts brought out by members of the re- 
search team. 


Have Fun ... Get Wett—Maryelle Dodds 
—American Heart Association, 39 p., illus., 
paper, 10 cents. Many suggestions to help the 
teen-ager who has been sick a long time to make 
the hours pass pleasantly. Many of the ideas 
can be adapted for younger children or for 
adults. 


How Do You Burp a HousE?—Margaret and 
Charles Mason—Sterling, 60 p., illus., $2.00. 
The story of the building of a house, from the 
clearing of the land to the completion of the 
home, as seen through the eyes of a young boy. 


THE Major Features or EvoLution—George 
Gaylord Simpson—Columbia University Press, 
434 p., illus., $7.50. Based on the author’s 
earlier work, “Tempo and Mode in Evolution,” 
published by Columbia University Press in 1944, 
this book is greatly enlarged and completely re- 
written. 


101 FAVORITE ANIMALS AND Birps—Diana 
Thorne—Sterling, 138 p., illus., $2.95. A ref- 
erence book for children and adults with life- 
like illustrations by this animal artist portraying 
domesticated and zoo animals. 


PıLor PLANT CATALYTIC (GASIFICATION OF 
Hyprocarsons—C. H. Riesz and others—Insti- 
tute of Gas Technology, 44 p., illus., paper, 
$5.00. Presenting results of a pilot plant inves- 
tigation of the catalytic cracking of hydrocarbons 
of low molecular weight, in the presence of 
steam and air, as a method of producing sub- 
stitutes for manufactured and natural gases. 


PREPARATION FOR MEDICAL EDUCATION IN THE 
LIBERAL CoLLEGE: The Report of the Subcom- 
mittee on Preprofessional Education of the Sur- 
vey of Medical Education—Aura E. Severing- 
haus, Harry J. Carman and William E. Cadbury, 
Jr.—McGraw-Hill, 400 p., $4.50. The final 
report of more than two years of work, in which 
factual reporting is combined with practical 
advice. 


THe PsycHoLocy oF PERsoNaLITY—Bernard 
Notcutt—Philosophical Library, 259 p., $4.75. 
An attempt of the author to choose from among 
current psychological concepts and methods 
those which have the best promise for the 
future. The author is a professor at the Uni- 
versity of Natal. 


Siamese Cat Book—Vera M. Nelson—All- 
Pets Books, 2nd ed., 103 p., illus., $2.00. An 
enlarged and revised book of the facts, care and 
breeding of Siamese cats. 


A Srupy oF BotsHEvisM—Nathan Leites— 
Free Press, 639 p., $6.50. A study of the opera- 
tional code or concepts of political strategy in- 
volved in Bolshevik doctrine; this, the author 
finds, is highly inconsistent and incomplete, 
making prediction of future Soviet decisions 
and actions difficult. The author is on the staff 
of the Rand Corporation Research Staff for the 
Air Force. 





TREASURY OF THE Wor p’s Coins—Fred 
Reinfeld—Sterling, 224 p., illus., $2.95 popular 
edition, $3.95 library edition. A photographic 
guide to many of the world’s most interesting 
coins, with the story behind the coin and the 
country that issued it. 


UNDERSTANDING Your 'TEEN-AGER — Metro- 
politan Life Insurance Company, 20 p., illus., 
paper, free upon request to publisher, ı Madison 
Avenue, New York, N. Y. Written for the teen- 
ager as well as for his parents, this booklet 
points out that a child’s desire for more inde- 
pendence as he reaches his teens is an important 
step toward becoming an adult. 


Witp FLOWERS oF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA 
AND THE Upper Onto Basın—Text by O. E. 
Jennings, watercolors by Andrey Avinoff—Pitts- 
burgh University Press, Vol. 1, 650 p., Vol. 2, 
400 p., illus., $60.00. An elaborate presentation 
of botanical data on more than 3,000 plants, 
of which the majority are native to Pennsyl- 
vania. Gorgeously illustrated in color. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


ENTOMOLOGY 


Beetle Found After 
Seven Years in Hiding 


> FAILURE OF California grain dealers 
to report an insect in their wheat, barley 
and oat storage warehouses seven years ago 
means the destructive Khapra beetle is well 
established in the state, H. M. Armitage, 
chief of the California bureau of ento- 
mology, has reported to the U. S. Depart- 
ment of Agriculture. 

Several weeks ago, the beetle, Trogoderma 
granarium, was found in warehouses in 
Tulare county. This was the first reported 
occurrence of the beetle in the Western 
Hemisphere. (See SNL, Dec. 5, p. 360.) 
The larvae of the beetle, whitish in color 
with orange hairs, feed on stored grain. 

Khapra beetles, however, have been un- 
detected residents of California since 1946 
because grain dealers confused it with other 
pests and did not notify entomologists, 
Mr. Armitage said. 

An intensive survey was launched imme- 
diately after the discovery in November. 
Entomologists hoped that the beetle was a 
recent import and could be completely ex- 
terminated. The survey showed the beetle 
is well established and widespread. Mr. 
Armitage said the Khapra beetle must be 
accepted as a permanent California pest. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


BOOK-MINDED? cet to 


science titles at savings to 65% 
JUST PUBLISHED! New Dover catalog lists 


such outstanding bargains as Langer’s ‘Intro. 
to Symbolic Logic” at $1.60, Einstein’s ‘‘Prin- 
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of Life’ at $1.70. Many, many more! Join 
the thousands of scientists, teachers and stu- 
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BOTANY 





Christmas Botany 


> ON THE secular side Christmas is gifts 
and good cheer, family reunions and good 
companions, snow, lights, bells and Kris 
Kringle. And it is also the trees and plants 
with which we bedeck the festival. 

These trees and plants form a special 
Christmas herbarium. In first place, of 
course, is the tree itself. Many of our 
Christmas trees are spruce. There are sev- 
eral kinds of spruce but they can all be told 
from the other evergreens by their needles. 
Spruce needles are short and quite stiff, and 
each one stands up on a sort of little ped- 
estal by itself. 

Fir trees are very often used. Their 
needles are softer than spruce, and some- 
what curved. The Douglas fir is used quite 
extensively in the Northwest. Of course, 
the kind of tree cut for Christmas depends 
on the available local supply. In pine coun- 
try, pine trees are the prevailing type. Un- 
like the spruce-fir group, pine needles are 
borne in little clusters of from two to five. 

Mistletoe is firmly entrenched among the 
pleasanter frivolities of the season. Custom 
has endowed it with a special charm and 
power and, though small, it sells extremely 
well. So well in fact that florists now pack- 


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age it in little cellophane bags, complete, 
rumor has it, with pins for fastening to 
ladies’ hats. 

Botanically, mistletoe is a parasitic plant 
which grows not in the soil but on trees, 
deriving much of its sustenance from them. 
However much foresters, like other men, 
may value mistletoe at Christmas time as a 
subterfuge for kissing, their year ’round 
professional view of it is as a plant pest 
that saps, and sometimes dwarfs and kills, 
the trees it feeds on. 

Honored in a different way are holly and 
poinsettia. Of the two, holly is the older as 
a Christmas plant. But when this evergreen 
became threatened with extinction as our 
expanding population created an ever-in- 
creasing demand for it, a substitute was 
sought. Poinsettia, which had been in use 
as a Christmas plant in California, was 
readily seized upon. Both are desired for 
their attractive display of the season’s colors. 

The Yule log, while in no sense a botani- 
cal species, deserves some notice, if only for 
its antiquarian interest. The disappearance 
of the Yule log can be attributed to two 
things: the clearing of the great forests, and 
central heating. In olden times the custom 
was to hunt up the biggest log to be found. 
It was usually oak. Cut as generously as 
possible so it would still fit the fireplace, it 
was then set in place at the back of the fire 
to burn unattended during the days of pro- 
longed revelry. 

Great oaks are rare and fireplaces are 
more so. When Christmas comes, no special 
effort is needed to keep the house cozy. 
The furnace is stoked or the thermostat set 
just as on any other winter day. The 
nearest thing to the Yule log custom is an 
act that has become traditional on Christ- 
mas Day among folk who live in apartment 
houses. That is the Christmas gift to the 
superintendent. 

Experience has shown that if the dona- 
tion be large enough, the house will be 
snug well into the New Year. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


HOW TO TRAVEL 


—and get paid for it 


There’s a job waiting for you somewhere—on a ship, 
with an airline, in overseas branches of American 
firms, in foreign firms overseas—even exploring if 
you’re adventurous, 

The full nton of | of what job you can fill is in Norman 
Ford’s new bo How to Get a Job That Takes You 
Traveling. Whether you’re male or female, young or 
old, whether you want a life-time of paid traveling or 
jusi hanker to roam the world for a short year or so, 

ere are the facts you want, complete with names 
and addresses and full details about the preparations 
to make, the cautions to observe, the countries to 
head for. 

You learn about the jobs in travel agencies (and 
as tour conductors), in importing and exporting con- 
cerns, with mining and construction companies. Here’s 
the story of jobs in the Red Cross and the UN 
organizations, how doctors get jobs on ships, the 
almost-sure way for a young girl to land a job as 
airline hostess, the wonderful travel opportunities if 
you will teach English to foreigners, and the fabulous 
travel possibilities for those who know stenography. 

“Can a man or woman still work his or her way 
around the world today?’ Norman Ford asks in this 
book as you might ask today. And he replies in 75,000 
yore of facts, “The answer is still a very definite 

es!” 

To travel and get paid for it, send today for How 
to Get a Job That Takes You Traveling on a money 
back guarantee if not satisfied. 

Mail $1 with your name and address to: HARIAN 
PUBLICATIONS, 2 Scranton Avenue, Greenlawn 
(Long Island), N. Y. 


399 


Questions 


CYTOLOGY—What is DNA? p. 387. 
O00 


FORESTRY—What are advantages to the 
farmer of growing Christmas trees? p. 386. 


aung 


GENERAL SCIENCE—Of what is Jupiter's at- 
mosphere composed? p. 388. 


When does blood start circulating through 
the lungs of baby lambs? p. 389. 


Coa 


Photographs: Cover, Piasecki Helicopter Corp.; 
p. 390, Dravo Corporation; p. 393, Edgerton, 
Germeshausen & Grier, Inc.; p. 394, Fremont 
Davis; p. 395, Bell Telephone Laboratories; 
p. 397, Sun Oil Company; p. 400, Reynolds 
Metals. 




















Have you ever seen a GALAXY? 


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Science News Letter for December 19, 1953 


- New Machines and Gadgets - 


For sources of more information on new things described, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to SCIENCE NEWS LETTER, 1719 N St., 


N. W., Washington 6, 


C., and ask for Gadget Bulletin 705. To receive this Gadget Bulletin without special request each week, remit $1. 50 for one year’s subscription. 


4 DUST HOOD for industry is made of 
a lightweight cloth and comes complete 
with a large “picture window” that does 
not restrict the workman's vision. Weighing 
only five ounces, the hood is designed for 
wear where irritating dusts are a nuisance. 
It can be worn with a respirator. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


{4 PEN-SIZED OILER somewhat resem- 
bles a hypodermic syringe in that it has a 
visible oil supply and a long needle-like 
beak. It deposits its fine, light oil in out-of- 
the-way oil holes of movie cameras, electric 
shavers, fishing reels, sewing machines and 


fans. 
Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


fo SWEDISH TYPEWRITER has a mag- 
nesium carriage attached to its otherwise 
steel frame. The carriage thus is made 
lighter and easter to throw back. Extra keys 
heve been added for symbols of the cus- 
tomer’s choice not usually found on type- 
writer keyboards. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


% ACOUSTICAL “FISH NET” is made 
of heart-shaped scraps of aluminum strung 
on sturdy strings, as shown in the photo- 


Don't forget to make it 


Al Scientific errr 


with Gift Subscriptions 
from SCIENCE SERVICE 





12-19-3 





Send us your gift orders early to avoid 
the last-minute mailing rush! 





graph. Draped from the ceiling of theaters, 
concert halls, museums and libraries, the 
netting is designed to eliminate unwanted 
echoes by breaking them into small sound 
waves that are scattered in all directions. 
Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


SCIENCE NEWS LETTER—the weekly 

summary of current science . . . a relia- 
ble, brief, illustrated report on what is hap- 
pening in science. First gift subscription, 
$5.50; second, $4.50; each additional, $3.50 
per year. 


CHEMISTRY—the pocket size reliable 
magazine devoted to the simplification 
of technical chemistry, with vital news and the 
latest developments in chemistry and related 
fields. . . . 9 issues, Sept. through May. First 
sybscription, $4.00; each additional, $3.00. 


THINGS of science—a monthly kit of 

interesting specimens or new products 
of scientific research. Actual samples, detailed 
descriptions, suggested experiments, museum- 
type labels are sent each month to a limited 
number of subscribing members at $5.00 per 
year (12 exciting and unusual kits). 
Clip and enclose coupon address at left 
with your list of names and addresses. 
Be sure to indicate which SCIENCE 
SERVICE gift subscription each is to 
receive. 


Co T E enclosed. ( ) Bill me. 
( ) Send Christmas card in my name. 


i READING PACER is an electric ma- 
chine designed to help you improve your 
reading speed. A narrow strip of light de- 
scends over a page of almost any book, 
magazine or other reading material. It can 
be made to descend at different speeds. 
The device plugs into ordinary household 
electrical outlets and can be used on small 


tables. 
Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


4 MIDGET FLASHBULB has a base 
about the size of a Christmas tree light and 
is rated at 4,000 lumen-seconds. Billed as 
the “world’s smallest,” the inexpensive flash- 
bulb provides enough light for box-type 
cameras to snap good black-and-white pic- 
tures on fast film at distances of 15 feet 
from the subject. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


SPRING WINDOW WEIGHTS, in- 
stalled in grooved sashes quickly and easily 
with a hammer, have been designed to re- 
place conventional weights. Housed in rug- 
ged butyrate plastic tubes, the devices are 
designed to give equalized sash-balance 
throughout the run of the window. 
Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


4 NEW HIGH-FIDELITY turntables be- 
ing manufactured by one company come 
equipped with a built-in stroboscopic speed- 
measuring device. The stroboscopic unit 
permits the user to set the record playing 
speed exactly at 78, 45, 33 1/3 or 16 2/3 
revolutions per minute, thus obtaining exact 
reproduction of musical pitch, tempo and 
timbre of the selection as it was recorded. 

Science News Letter, December 19, 1953 


Do You Kaow? 


An auger-type coal mining machine has 
been developed that extracts coal for a dis- 
tance of more than 200 yards into a moun- 
tain-side without requiring the presence of 
a single workman underground. 


Few centipedes have as many as 100 legs; 
the common house type has only 15 pairs, 
the garden variety has 21 pairs, but some 
species have as many as 200 legs. 


Although the squirrel monkey possesses 
a brain that is proportionately larger than 
man’s, the animal is not particularly intelli- 
gent. 


Diving on its prey, a duck hawk often 
travels 180 miles an hour. 


About 5.5 pounds of rice per person per 
year are consumed in the United States.